On April 8th, ChileCarne, in collaboration with Elanco, held a webinar where international expert, Brett Stuart, CEO of Global Agritrends, analyzed the situation that a potential outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the United States could trigger.

The webinar “Analysis and expectations after a potential detection of an ASF outbreak in the US” was held with representatives from leading companies in the pork sector for them to learn more about the various fronts to consider in the event of an ASF outbreak.

ChileCarne’s Business Manager, Rodrigo Castañón, commented: “African swine fever is an issue that has kept us preoccupied and busy for about three years. In previous years, we have worked on how to prevent and avoid an ASF outbreak in Chile; and now, in a second stage, we want to learn about potential contingency plans in case ASF enters Chile. Knowing in detail how other countries have moved forward, the timelines, and how to improve disease surveillance programs are issues on which we will keep working.”

Brett Stuart was in charge of explaining what could happen in the United States in the event of an outbreak, forecasting market disruptions, impacts on the industry, potential price adjustments, and number of animals that would stay in production.

During the webinar, Stuart explained the current outbreak protocols in North America, potential scenarios in the event of an outbreak, and the implications for the market in the short and long term. The potential behavior of exports and the variations in terms of supply, demand, and prices were analyzed in more detail.

A key topic was Stuart’s analysis of the lessons learned by other countries that have had outbreaks of this virus, breaking down the most effective actions that they have implemented. The expert emphasized the need to know about ASF in order to manage outbreaks, noting that although it is a highly deadly virus, it is not as contagious as others, and it also spreads slower. Thus, distance between pigs is key to preventing a dangerous spread.

Additionally, he explained the US protocols against outbreaks, detailing health and market response times. Talking about the market response and based on the experience of countries that have already had ASF outbreaks, such as Belgium and China, he asked to keep in mind the need to be prepared for the suspension of exports for at least 12 months.

When presenting his conclusions, Stuart underlined that beyond all analysis there is little certainty about the public policy that will be applied in the event of an ASF outbreak, and how consumers in each country will react. The key is to know the effective actions implemented by other countries in this situation. In addition, having a plan to deal with the closure of foreign markets is extremely important to reorganize and keep pork production and trading active in times of crisis.